[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Piermont 6-18-2019 by L.L. No. 4-2019. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Village Board is aware of the country's current plague of shootings of, and other types of attacks on, innocent persons in schools, in the workplace, in places of worship, in other public places, and in homes. The Village Board recognizes that it cannot solve this problem and is mindful of the right to bear arms given to the people by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and by New York Civil Rights Law § 4. Balanced against these rights is the Village's objective of providing a safe work environment for Village employees and a safe place for visitors to Village buildings. Weighing these competing points, the Village Board finds that safety is paramount. Therefore, this chapter bans possession of firearms within the Village buildings identified in this chapter by persons other than those permitted to do so by this chapter.
In enacting this chapter, the Village Board is relying on the oft-quoted phrase from the United States Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v Heller, 554 US 570, 626 (2008): "Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding . . . laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings. . . .," and the Supreme Court's reiteration of that proposition in McDonald v City of Chicago, Illinois, 561 US 742, 786 (2010) ("We made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as ... 'laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings. . . .'").
Preceding Heller and McDonald, the Attorney General of the State of New York, in Informal Opinion No. 89-75, opined that a village, when acting in its proprietary capacity, could ban possession of firearms within Village Hall. In reaching this conclusion, the Attorney General relied upon Barrett v Kunzig, 331 F. Supp. 266, 272 (M.D. Tenn 1971), cert den, 409 US 914 (1972) which had observed: "[I]t would seem clear that the United States Government and its custodian, General Services Administration, could make use of its property as could any private citizen with his home. Hence, it could prevent entry or make such conditions as it deemed proper as a precedent to entry."
After Heller, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals faced a case where banning the possession of firearms on government property was the issue. In Bonidy v United States Postal Serv., 790 F3d 1121 (10th Cir. 2015), the Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the section of the Code of Federal Regulations that prohibits carrying firearms while on property belonging to the United States Postal Service (39 CFR § 232.1 ) against a challenge from a person with a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Although the United States Postal Service (USPS) is an arm of the government and not a private company, the Court noted: "As a government-owned business acting as a proprietor rather than as a sovereign, the USPS has broad discretion to govern it business operations according to the rules it deems appropriate. ... [T]he bans [on possession of firearms] struck down in Heller and McDonald ... regulated wholly private activity and applied to every citizen within the respective jurisdictions. By contrast, the regulation challenged here applies only to discrete parcels of land owned by the U.S. Postal Service, and affects private citizens only insofar as they are doing business with the USPS on USPS property. And the regulation is directly relevant to the USPS's business objectives, which include providing a safe environment for its patrons and employees." Bonidy, 790 F3d at 1126-27.
Finally, this chapter is compatible with the federal statute (18 U.S.C. § 930) that, with certain exceptions, bans the possession of firearms within those buildings owned or leased by the federal government where employees of the federal government are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.
The Village Board, acting in its proprietary capacity as owner of the Village buildings defined below, enacts the following ban on the possession of firearms in those Village buildings.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms have these meanings:
- A. Means:
- (1) Police officers as that term is defined in Subdivision 34 of § 1.20 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law, on active duty;
- (2) Peace officers as that term is defined in § 2.10 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law;
- (3) Individuals in the service of the United States who, whether in pursuit of their official duty or when authorized by federal law, regulation or order, are authorized to possess a firearm; and
- (4) Employees of banking institutions or armored transportation companies whose jobs require them to transport cash, but only when they are performing their duties for their employer.
- VILLAGE BUILDING
- The buildings and improvements known by these names and/or postal addresses, but not the parking lots that are adjacent thereto:
- A. The Village Hall located at 478 Piermont Avenue, Piermont, NY 10968.
- B. The Community Center located at 204 Hudson Terrace, Piermont, NY 10968.
- C. The Piermont Firehouse located at 554 Piermont Avenue, Piermont NY 10968.
- D. The Goswick Pavilion located at 95 Ferry Road, Piermont, NY 10968.
- E. The Highway Garage Building located at 330 Piermont Avenue, Piermont, NY 10968.
It is a violation of this chapter for any person, other than an exempt person, to possess a firearm when in a Village Building.
Notice of this chapter's ban on the possession of firearms in Town buildings shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to a Town building. No person shall be convicted of violating this chapter if such notice is not so posted, unless such person had actual notice of the ban.
A person who violates this chapter shall be charged with a violation and, if convicted, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000.